Thursday, October 11, 2007

Review -- GEOFF BERNER -- The Wedding Dance of the Widow Bride

Geoff Berner
Geoff Berner's latest The Wedding Dance of the Widow Bride is also up for the Solo Roots Award, although many may question why?
This is a CD which immediately intrigued me, probably be the title, which hinted at a darkly-themed CD. I suppose you would say it achieved that in some tongue-in-cheek way. Certainly the lyrics on songs such as Week, Bride, Weep are dark enough, and is arguably the best cut here.
The instrumentation is the strong point of this CD with the accordion playing a lead role, as the music has the sound of old Eastern Europe. You could easily see a Ukrainian dancer doing steps to the music here.
So there is something different here, and that should be applauded, as Berner goes off into a musical realm rarely, if ever explored. His choice of instrumentation and musical style crossing over with a modernist approach to folk/roots lyrics.
The approach was one that on the first listen I actually dismissed as being frankly awful. However, on subsequent listens my respect for Berner's approach grew. I commend him for taking a rather daring approach to roots music. That is of course one of the strengths of the genre, with the music coming from the roots of cultures, and in this day that means something of a melding. Lyrically, Berner is almost a punk rocker or free form performance poet, but musically the old accordion holds this CD in a different age.
This is a CD that in the end some people will dig in a big way, and others will vehemently dislike – I doubt there is a middle ground on this one.
It's out there on the edge of musical weirdness somewhere, but it is a local worth a visit for those with an adventurous musical taste.
Check it out at


-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Oct 10, 2007 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

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